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The issue of racism has unfortunately reared its ugly head again in the incidents that occurred in the Serbia versus England under 21 and the Bulgaria versus Denmark games during the recent international break. ‘The timing of these incidents is remarkable as they occurred during the FARE Week of Action’, says Tony Higgins, FIFPro’s spokesperson on anti-racism.

 

FARE is the anti discrimination arm of UEFA with whom FIFPro cooperates with in Europe to try and combat racism and other forms of discrimination. The idea behind the Action Week is that a wide range of initiatives and activities that address local problems within their club or community, join groups across the continent to present a united stand against discrimination in the game.

 

The Action Week runs from 16 until 31 October and aims to:

  • increase public awareness of discrimination in football
  • create a united front by bringing together everyone in football
  • develop ideas and new practises that challenge exclusion

 

A key part of the activities are the events that further social inclusion by bringing together people of different communities through sport.

 

What started as a minor campaign in nine countries in 2001, has now become the largest series of anti-discrimination activities in sport. In 2011 activities took place in 41 countries with some of Europe’s top stars lending support to the campaign. The number of participating professional leagues has increased to 14.All 32 teams of the UEFA Champions League participate in the campaign, reaching more than 600,000 fans directly at the matches and millions more via live broadcasts through television.

 

Higgins: ‘FIFPro also is involved in the campaign in the public address that is read out at every game highlighting our stand against racism.’

 

Higgins concludes: ‘Following the signing of the Memorandum Of Understanding between FIFPro and UEFA - in March this year - we are committed to working and developing plans with UEFA over the next three years to try and combat this cancer in our game.’